When I first began baking I thought everything needed to look perfect. Every cupcake had to be frosted evenly with a uniform peak on top. The tart dough needed to blind bake evenly. Even lines, matching shapes. Perfection was a sign of a successful recipe. But now I kind of feel the opposite. I think there’s more beauty in imperfections.
These apple, sweet potato and bacon turnovers are a great example of this. They’re definitely not identical in shape and size. Some are darker than others. Some may even be a little bit too dark. I didn’t measure out the filling closely so some are thicker than others.
And yet I think they’re absolutely lovely. The light catches each turnover in a slightly different way and the gently warped edges are whimsical and fun. They taste wonderful.
I used to spend a lot of time focusing on precision in my baked goods. And sometimes I still do. I really like my layer cakes to have flat sides and even amounts of frosting. But for something like a turnover, there’s more beauty in the imperfections.
- 1 pound sweet potatoes (approximately 2 medium), peeled and diced
- 8 strips bacon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 large gala apples
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- kosher salt
- 2 sheets puff pastry
- flour for dusting
- 1 egg
- Boil a large pot of water and cook sweet potatoes until soft, approximately 10 minutes (the smaller the dice, the faster they will cook). Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook the bacon over low heat to render out the fat and then turn the heat up to medium and cook for several minutes until crisp but not overdone. Allow the bacon to drain well on a paper towel. Dice the bacon and set aside.
- Peel, core and coarsely chop the apples. In a dutch oven or heavy bottom saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat and then add the apples. Toss to coat the apples and then add the nutmeg and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Cook the apples, stirring frequently, until the are lightly caramelized and soft but not mushy. Set aside.
- Mash the sweet potatoes and stir in the maple syrup, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and roll out one chilled sheet of puff pastry (keep the other sheet in the refrigerator until the last second). You will want to work swiftly with the dough before it becomes to soft. Square off the dough if necessary with a bench scraper or pizza cutter and slice into 6 even squares.
- Place a small spoonful of the sweet potatoes inside one of the squares. Top with a larger spoonful of apples and a sprinkle of chopped bacon. Make sure to leave some space between the filling and the sides of the dough so that the turnover can be sealed once it's folded. Repeat this process with all 6 pieces of dough.
- Fold the dough over from corner to corner into a triangle shape. Use a fork to press the edges together and seal in the filling.
- Place the turnovers on a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
- Repeat the same process with the second sheet of puff pastry and the remainder of the filling, placing the turnovers onto the second prepared baking sheet (any leftover filling is delicious by itself).
- Whisk the egg together with a splash of water and a pinch of salt.
- Remove the baking sheets from the refrigerator and use a small knife to poke 3 holes in the top of each turnover. Use a pastry brush to spread a thin layer of egg wash over each turnover.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the dough is cooked through and golden brown on top.